Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ditto

Snort, giggle, guffaw...

As we were coming into Houston on the way home, we passed a cute little white F-350 crew cab, dually, diesel, long bed with a full deer shredder on the front. There was a small sign on the rear quarter panel, just above the 4 inch exhaust pipe. It said “Free Carbon Credits. Suck Here” and it had a little arrow pointing down to said exhaust pipe.  And that’s what I like about Texas.

Go check out Jaded Haven, Jenny and Uncle Kenny post some interesting stuff.

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

One of the easiest and most common attacks another person will lay on you if you are trying to do good or are advocating a way of being good is that of hypocrisy.  "You're such a hypocrite, you say you're (insert good thing here) and yet you've done (bad things x,y, and z).  A 'real' (insert good thing here) would never behave like you or your group.  They'd be pure as the driven snow.  Heck, they'd make the Pope look like a drunken sailor.  Your (insert good thing here) is phoney.  You're a hypocrite and I'm glad I'm not like you!"  Then they happily go back to their way thinking all the while about how their way is really better and while they can't be perfect they are pretty good and that's how you should be after all, not like those hypocrites you know.

I think we all do that really to some degree or another.  It's a way of tearing down someone you think is telling you that you should be better than you are so you really don't have to give any credence to whatever it was they were advocating.  There's a lot of sociological implications to this idea but that's not where I'm going with it today.  I had an experience recently that caused me to question some things and think deeper about some things as well.

You see, I knew this guy.  He was something of a big time leader and everybody liked him a lot.  So much so in fact that even though he'd done some pretty bad things in his past, people just glossed over them because he was such a good guy and did so much good for others.  I mean, when you hear this guys name you just automatically think "what a good guy!"

I recently found out about some of those skeletons in his closet though.  The stuff everyone glosses over and say's stuff like "Well, anyone can make mistakes.  Even So-and-so did."  Thing of it is, what this guy did should have landed him in prison for life or even gotten him the death penalty.  And not just him but the people who helped him too.  I think the saddest part of the whole thing is that he probably wouldn't have gone as far as he did if someone had just stood up to him while he was going down his bad path.

So, what did he do?  Well, it started with him cheating on his wife.  With another married woman.  Eh, not so bad right?  Lots of powerful and not so powerful people do that.  The worst consequence is usually your family being broken up due to your stupidity if you're not so powerful.  The powerful however can be brought down by those kinds of scandals.  Unless you're the PM of Italy.  I don't know how those guys get away with what they do!  But anywho, all might have been fine but the 'other woman' got pregnant.  At this point, our good guy goes heavily into fix it mode.  He conspires to get the 'other woman' to get with her man so it looks like the kid is theirs but that doesn't work because they don't get together and the hubby goes out of town on business.  Good guy has some serious connections though.  Did I mention he was kind of a powerful figure?  So since fix one didn't work he moves to fix two.  He has the hubby murdered.  And its done in a way that gets innocent bystanders killed as well.

So this guy I knew that I thought was a pretty good guy is actually a cheater and a murderer.  And not just a low level murderer.  A murder one kind with multiple counts and conspiracy to commit as well.  His connections would naturally be tried for the same charges so you got multiple people who should now go down for multiple counts of murder one!  When I found out the extent of what this guy had done I found myself actually rather shocked.  Also my esteem for him took a pretty big hit.  I'm still trying to figure out how to deal with it really.  Normally after that they go to prison and you forget about them because they became scum.  How do you deal with all that and then find out that they got off?  And not only that they go on and become "beloved" by many people?  Holy crap Batman!  It does not compute for me!  It gets worse though.

That guy is King David from the Bible.  He really did a lot of good for his people and they loved him.  Worse for my understanding is that God loved him and forgave him for doing what he did.  The consequences remained though.  The kid died.  His country was at war perpetually after that as well so lots of other people died because of his decision.  Yet he didn't step down.  In fact, he's called a man after God's own heart throughout the Bible in spite of his record.  I find that all very hard to fathom.

So, the next time you try to aspire to something good and get the 'hypocrite' label thrown in your face, think about David.  It might mess your mind up a little but somehow good guys can do bad and still go back to doing good.  And they still get called good guys.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Thought

You can't help a person's soul if you aren't willing to help their body.

Division

People are funny, they are drawn to groups and yet remain highly divided in their views.  A lot of political literature talks about how to divide a society in order to effect the change they are after with the ironic goal of creating their unified body at the end of their struggle.  What a load of crap.  All you have to do to divide any society is take away any significant external enemies or threats and let nature take its course.  As soon as we can focus on our differences to the exclusion of much else, we're done.  I'd say the real trick is trying to unite a society at all under those circumstances.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Utopian Dream

Seems to me that every person's version of the Utopian Dream Society requires that all who do not fit that model society to be eliminated from it in some way.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

EVOlution!

My forehead just got less sloped and smoother.  Behold!  I have entered the age of the smart phone!  Well behind my many brethren but I did it for free suckas!  Target had a deal this week where I could upgrade my old Sprint phone and get an EVO free.  I was rather shocked.  Let the learning curve begin....

I Guess It Wouldn't Be News...

Unless...
  1.     It generates fear.
  2.     Has a decent body count or at least an important figure.
  3.     Broadly paints huge groups of people as evil because of similar beliefs.
  4.     Does it's best to ratchet up hot button issues of the day.
Oh look!  Here's a story now!

Norway Bomb Suspect Bought 6 Tons of Fertilizer

In this AP "news" article published on Fox News web site we find these gems:

The Norwegian man suspected in a bombing and shooting spree that killed at least 92 people...

Bombing, shooting, high body count, check.

...the shell-shocked Nordic nation was gripped by reports that the gunman may not have acted alone.

Add to fear factor, check.

The suspect in police custody -- a blonde blue-eyed Norwegian with reported Christian fundamentalist, anti-Muslim views -- has been preliminarily charged with acts of terrorism.

Establish entire religion and race of people are similar to suspect, check.

Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told reporters that the attacks, believed to be the work of a man who has posted on Christian fundamentalist websites, showed you can't jump to conclusions about terror acts. He said most of the political violence that Norway has seen has come from the extreme right.

This statement just about has it all.  Here we condemn Christians based on the fact that the suspect posted on a web site.  Calling them fundamentalists is just an added kicker because of the imagery it creates as it's typically used in derogatory ways.  Oh and it also absolves any other group of folks.  If this guy ever posted on Facebook for instance, we could just as easily demonize every Facebook user too!  Minister Stoere then goes on to say how you can't jump to conclusions by promoting that you do indeed jump to the conclusion he wants you to have.  It must have been political violence directed at the left from the "extreme right", a wet dream come true for progressives.

Gun violence is rare in Norway, where the average policeman patrolling in the streets doesn't carry a firearm. Reports that the assailant was motivated by political ideology was shocking to many Norwegians, who pride themselves on the openness of their society.


Got to get the "Gun Violence" angle in there.  I mean it's not like he used anything else!  Oh, and it should not surprise you that Norway has stricter gun laws than the U.S.

The gunman used both automatic weapons and handguns

Typical journalistic ignorance or misdirection.  Either they don't know the difference between a muzzle loader and a machine gun or they are intentionally trying to get you to think "full auto".

The dust-clogged scene after the blast reminded one visitor from New York of Sept. 11

Lets equate imagery to much more horrific act for more impact.

A SWAT team that had been put on alert after the bombing was dispatched to the island once the shooting began.


I just added the SWAT quote because so many SWAT stories have been in the news of late and I loved how they worked that into the article.

Though the prime minister cautioned against jumping to conclusions about the gunman's motives, both attacks were in areas connected to the left-leaning Labour Party, which leads a coalition government. The youth camp, about 20 miles northwest of Oslo, is organized by the party's youth wing, and the prime minister had been scheduled to speak there Saturday.


Don't jump to any conclusions folks, but...  OMG!!!!!!!!!!!1111111elevenelevendy!!!!!!  IT WAS A RIGHTY ATTACKING  LEFTYS!!!!!!!

"It's a reminder that the entire international community has a stake in preventing this kind of terror from occurring," President Barack Obama said.

And of course, a plug from our "most leftist" to show the need for "If you see something, SAY something!"  After all the Gestapo Dept. of Homeland Security can't be everywhere, yet...

Bold emphasis mine.

I guess I'll go down to the nearest Walmart today and turn myself into the first manager I see.  It's clear to me based on this solid reporting that I am almost identical to this guy and thus could likely either snap at any time or am subconsciously already plotting something nefarious.  After all I am:

  1.     Christian with fundamentalist beliefs (flippin whack job right there alone!).
  2.     Not only a gun owner (of multiple guns) but a gun rights proponent and member of like organizations!
  3.     Undoubtedly a "Right Winger" and conservative with libertarian leanings.
  4.     Politically active.
  5.     Blue eyed (don't let the cute rodent pic fool you).
  6.     Likely have some Nordic ancestry.
  7.     Naturally white skinned and middle aged.  "THE" primo terrorist demographic right there Janet!

If they don't throw me straight away in jail or execute me on the spot I may just have to wear some symbol on my chest until they get to the round-ups.  Seems to me that this is the likely direction someone writing an article like this would like to see things go.  Ah, objective journalism!  It just don't get much better...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Worries

I worry about economic melt down of varying severity.  I think it's unavoidable.  I have no doubt what so ever that climate change is nothing to worry about at all.

I wonder if my liberal counterparts are completely opposite of this.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ho Hum

Life is in kind of a holding pattern at the moment.  Yeah, I know the world is messed up and scandals abound but my life is currently an exercise in waiting.  FOB Groundhog is for sale.  Lots of nibbles.  A couple of really good bobber sinking hits but no catch yet.  Other than looking to see what's available we can't really go house shopping until this one gets sold.  We do look though.  I get a bit of a raise in 6 weeks, but that's six weeks away :)  Both the little groundhogettes are working these days so the house has a different feel about it at times.  As summers go, this one is hot but not insanely hot.  Usual muggy weather but not unbearable.  It too should continue on unchanged for a number of weeks yet.  So, things are rather blasé at the moment.  I'll try to work up a good outrage or deep thought soon though!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Refreshing And Fast

WndImage via Wikipedia
Snicker... clever eh?
World Net Daily Steals Idea Does Right Thing!  That should have been the title of the post but I guess you can't do strike through on post titles.  No sooner had the news hit the bloggosphere (along with righteous indignation), than it became a moot point as WND pulled the ad and promised to fix things.

Now, several blogs picked up on this and then updated their story to reflect the favorable correction.  I'm parroting it a bit late but it's for another few reasons.  I'd just like to highlight what WND did:

IT WAS A NICE THING TO DO.

IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

THEY DID IT WAY FAST!

I mean, how unlike most of the crap you see out there in the world today is this?  Corporation X blunders.  Normally they'll just not admit to it, or fight it, or twist or spin it to make them look not as bad.  Do you realize how quickly this "incident" will be forgotten because they fixed it so stinkin' fast?

BIG Kudos to World Net Daily for doing the right thing very quickly.  That's just not done these days!
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Sunday Musing

Do you realize that anyone that God has ever used for any good thing throughout history was a sinner?  There have been no exceptions to that rule.  Not one.  Think you're too bad for God to do good through you?  Guess again...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A TSA Agents Dilemma

What if you were a patriotic American looking for a job after you got back from the sand box serving your country bravely on the tip of the spear and you happened to get hired by the TSA in the days before fondling children and 95 year old dying leukemia patients became the norm?  I actually recall the early days of the TSA when people thought turning screening over to a government agency was not a bad idea.  Oh, and they were providing much needed jobs too.  I had a friend get hired on there and he was very grateful.  So a few years go by and all the sudden you find you're now considered by many to be the scourge of civilization, collectively lower than politicians, lawyers, and used car salesmen combined!

I've read a lot of patriotic chest thumping of late by people being highly critical of agencies like the TSA, ATF, and cops in general.  And I agree that there is indeed some high criticism of these agencies needed right now.  What I don't agree with are several bloggers assertion that had a person any honor, they'd quit said agencies in disgust and if they DON'T do that, then they must be evil, part of the problem, etc.

I suspect that most of these liberty minded patriots (LMPs) are not in a position to offer a job to any of these folks who righteously quit in disgust.  Natrually, most of these LMPs would suggest they just pull themselves up by their bootstraps and "deal with it" somehow since they're obviously in a situation where they can comfortably say that.  My question would be as follows, and I ask it of myself too.  If I-you-we as LMPs suggest to other LMPs who may be working for these out of control agencies that they quit "in disgust", should we not set up some kind of fund to help these individuals and their families?  Are there any liberty minded CEO's out there willing to offer these folks jobs if they "quit in disgust"?  I've not seen anything like that being offered out there.

You don't get unemployment if you quit "in disgust" for patriotic reasons.  You are on your own in a country where unemployment is hanging right around where it was during the great depression.  It would take an awful lot of patriotism to overcome that if you have a family to feed.

A lot of LMPs talk about unintended consequences coming from government actions, laws passed, that sort of thing.  If we're thoughtful enough to dissect those kinds of things, shouldn't we be as thoughtful before we suggest someone is evil if they aren't willing to commit economic suicide so some keyboard commando somewhere will think a little higher of them?  It wouldn't surprise me too much to find a number of TSA type folks would happily quit if they had a comparable job to go to elsewhere.  Until we have that to offer them though, I think it might be a bit hypocritical to suggest they simply sacrifice their lives on the alter of patriotism.  Remember that if you are liberty minded, the word MIND is prominently embedded in there.  Use it.
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Monday, July 4, 2011

Indiana Supreme Court Does It Again

Apparently overturning the 4th Amendment was not good enough for these goons.

Go read "A case of drunk while not driving".

Seriously Indiana, if I didn't think I'd be needing my stock of tar and feathers for our spineless Texas politicians, I'd ship mine to you...

Happy 235th Birthday America!

235 years ago today, America's founding fathers voted to declare our INDEPENDENCE from Great Britain.  Had their efforts failed, they would have all been hung by the neck until dead for treason.  Think about that the next time you vote for something.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Understanding Evil and Grace

One of the hardest things for me to do is to come before God and spend time with Him.  You see, I have an evil heart.  The older I get the more of that I see.  Over the last few years I've struggled more and more over the conundrum of how to serve God when I have this obviously evil heart.  I've watched pastors and politicians, both famous and not, preach righteousness and then fall when their own evil is exposed.  I've also watched some grow old and not fall.

I became a Christian when I was 23.  I had this "Ah Ha" moment when I first had a glimmer of understanding of God's grace.  What it really meant that Jesus, God Himself in the flesh, came and died to pay the price for my sins.  I was... Forgiven!  I was forgiven because I was... Loved!  Loved with an insanely enormous love that was beyond anything I could ever comprehend.  When that happens all else is pretty much brushed aside for a while because your "self" focus gets minimized and your "God" focus is about all you can see.  It's sometimes referred to as a mountain top experience.  When I was spending some time in Denver I had a chance to go to the top of Mt. Evans.  Some folks had tried to build a building there.  It kept getting struck by lightning and burning down.  It's near impossible to live on a mountain top.  Awesome experience but one that you eventually return from.  I certainly returned changed but return I did.  Back to life in the valley.

Back "home" in the valley where we all live most of the time I continued this new found relationship with God.  I learned a ton about Him and the Bible and Christianity.  I started learning much about myself too.  About good and evil, right and wrong, and shades of gray.  And of course, the conundrum.  How is it you can accept this miracle of forgiveness, receive and give your life over to this awesome holy God, follow Him, and yet still sin, still do evil?  It's an age old question.

9 The heart is deceitful above all things
   and beyond cure.
   Who can understand it? 
                - The Prophet Jeremiah (old testament dude)
Over 20 years later I still serve and love God.  I've had highs and lows.  My fire has burned hot at times and been just a barely glowing ember at others.  I've desperately sought God to "show me the way" to go in life only to find that He mostly lets me make those choices.  Both good and bad.  I've also desperately wanted God to deliver me from evil, the evil in me.  I knew all along it was still there.  It keeps coming out.  I keep going back to it.  Temptation wouldn't be tempting if it didn't have appeal or you did not desire that which tempts you.  Paul (that apostle dude) wrote about that in one of the most convoluted scriptures ever.

 14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 
          - Paul (once called Saul)

I really think somewhere in there, there should have been a "Do wah diddy diddy dum diddy do", but then, that's just how I roll.  Anywho, I hate this sin, this evil in me.  And yet it tempts me and I go after it.  Sometimes it doesn't even tempt me much and I go seek it out.  And I ALWAYS know better!  It is ALWAYS inevitably MY CHOICE!  But I can't, or won't or am not willing to stop myself.  I turn away from God then.  Heck, I run from Him.  I hate myself and sure don't want to be around a holy God at those times!  Yet not once have I been struck by the lightning I so richly deserved to be hit with at those moments.  That Forgiveness is still there.  That Love is still there.  He just waits until I've come back to my senses and reminds me that I was covered with it all along.  Why?  How can I even go back before God time and time again and say "I'm sorry, please fix me again.  I broke and I chose to break but I'm sorry again, please take me back."  "Oh, and yeah, I know I'll just go out and do it again.  For some reason I can't seem to stop."  And He does not reject me.  He doesn't take me back because He never let me go in the first place.  I'm somehow covered by this thing called "grace".  God lets all this coexist together somehow.  It's difficult to understand and grasp and I most certainly don't have a handle on it.

There was this King in the old testament Bible named David.  He was the first king of the Jews who never turned away from God.  God said of David:

22 After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’ 
      - Book of Acts 13:22

God loved David and David loved God.  You'd think David would be near perfect.  I mean he's being held up as an example to us and all.  He was heroic.  He trusted and relied on God.  He sought God.  He preached God.  He led by example while following God.  He was also a Murderer, an Adulterer, and a sinner of a magnitude that it caused thousands of his people to be killed.  This David, this doer of evil of a magnitude that I have not even achieved, is somehow "A man after God's own heart."  What?  How?

Not long after David committed adultery, followed by murder, followed by causing the death of his infant son, knowing that by all rights God should have vaporized him, he goes and writes this:

1 Have mercy on me, O God,
   according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
   blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
   and cleanse me from my sin.

 3 For I know my transgressions,
   and my sin is always before me.

4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
   and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
   and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
   sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
   you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
 7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
   wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
   let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
   and blot out all my iniquity.
 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
   and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

11 Do not cast me from your presence
   or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
   and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
 13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
   so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
   you who are God my Savior,
   and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
   and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
   you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is[b] a broken spirit;
   a broken and contrite heart
   you, God, will not despise.

            - David - Psalm 51:1-17 (Murderer, Adulterer, Man after God's own heart)

David did some horrible things.  Yet he came back to God.  He knew he deserved death for what he did, yet God didn't kill him.  He asked God to forgive him and then threw himself at the mercy of God's ... GRACE!  He even has the audacity to ask God to fix his heart!  I mean, just "wow"...  We don't deserve grace.  I don't deserve grace yet it's given to me.  It covers me when I do or think the most horrible things.  I do not even begin to fathom this grace.  My understanding of it is weak and small as is my understanding of the universe, yet it is huge and surrounds me and I cannot deny it.  Like David, I do evil.  Like David, I crawl back to God on my knees every time hating this evil in me all the way.  And God does not reject me.  But it's hard.  Hard to come back to God when you do bad.  One of the toughest things for a little kid to learn and do is to come to his parents and admit he did something wrong, knowing he deserves punishment for it.  The last thing that kid wants to do is go back to mom or dad and confess.  Parents that love their kids tend to show them the most grace when they do that.

I don't understand this grace much.  A little yes, and I'm learning.  I'm glad I have it though.  Blows me away that all I had do do was ask.  It blows me away even more that I can screw up time and time again and I still have it.  It ...never... gets... taken... away.  I guess this is how God fixes evil, fixes the evil in us.  We're subjected to it and surrounded by it all our lives.  We DO it and even seek it out.  Yet, if we turn to Jesus we find that he took care of it for us.  Because he loves us and wants us to be with him forever.  And He wants everyone to have that chance.  It's the reason we're still here at all.  Somehow Love trumps all.  I don't understand it but I'm glad.
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